Aiming for Greatness: IIMB to Mt. Everest – Leadership Summit 2018
Ayush Gupta is a second year PGP student at IIMB. He graduated from NIT Allahabad in 2015, with a B.Tech. degree in Electrical Engineering. He worked for 2 years in ZS Associates as a Business Analyst and for 2 months in McKinsey & Company as a Summer Associate. His passion in life is adventure and travelling. He is a Senior Coordinator in Anveshan, the IIMB Adventure and Trekking Club, and led the Everest Base Camp Expedition this year.
(Log of the event by Ayush Gupta)
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves” – Sir Edmund Hillary
IIMB’s second leadership summit to Mt. Everest, Base Camp (5,364 meters) had over 12 adventurers including current PGP students, and alumni from PGP, AMP, PGPEM & EGMP programmes.
The 15-day trek started in Kathmandu, inside a small backpacking hostel. After packing up gear and medicine, we headed out to our first stop – Lukla. Reaching Lukla is a simple matter of taking a short 30-minute flight from Kathmandu. Lukla, however, is also referred to as the most dangerous airport in the world! The adverse weather conditions, and small landing strip makes it a very bumpy and dangerous ride, with flights getting cancelled all the time. We were fortunate enough to not face any cancellations.
After reaching Lukla, we trekked to Phakding, which was at the base of the foothills and was surrounded by pleasant streams. At night, one could see a million stars in the unpolluted skies of the Himalayas. The following day was the trek to Namche Bazar, also known as the Sherpa’s Capital. This hike is considered the most difficult in the entire trek as it includes more than a 1000-meter climb in over 3 hours – exhausting for most! However, the determination to reach the top was strong in everyone. Our team included people with diseases such as diabetes and arthritis, and also people in their 50s. However, none of this proved a barrier, showing that willpower truly conquers all.
Namche Bazar was at 3440 meters, a sufficient altitude to start experiencing AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness. This sickness may affect anyone because of low oxygen levels and causes headaches and vomiting and one must immediately descend to be cured. To prevent this, our trek included buffer days to acclimatize to the altitude.
After Namche Bazar, we headed up to Tengboche and then Dingboche, the subsequent day. The terrain started becoming more arid, devoid of any vegetation. It was also incredibly rocky, making trekking difficult. Moreover, the low oxygen levels meant that it was much more difficult to trek at a sustained pace. However, we kept moving on.
We finally reached Lobuche, and then Gorakshep after 8 days from Lukla. Gorakshep marked the highest inhabited spot in the region, at over 5140 meters! From Gorakshep, we had two destinations – Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp.
Kala Patthar is at an elevation of 5,643 meters and was the highest point that we trekked to. Because of the severely low oxygen levels and steep descent, unfortunately, not everyone from our team could make it. However, the view was mesmerizing. It is the only spot where the entire Himalayan range including mount Everest is completely visible from – and the sunset views are unlike any other. It was truly a unique spot as we were above the clouds, and could view the entire mountain range.
After a nights rest we finally headed towards the end of our journey – Everest Base Camp. Everest Base Camp was approximately 3 hours from Gorakshep. The terrain was difficult to traverse, as it was full of large boulders and narrow pathways which were also shared with large yak groups. Several trekkers who wish to summit Mt. Everest call Everest Base Camp their home for over 2 months. As such, a large amount of food, oxygen, and other supplies are carried from lower altitudes to Base Camp through Sherpas and Yaks. We finally reached Everest Base camp on the 9th day, with every member reaching the summit!
This journey taught us to live in adverse conditions, without proper food, water or sanitation. It was a life changing and bonding experience for all of us. More than the destination, the journey shaped all of us. Perhaps, the Everest summit might be in our books in the future. But for now, we enjoy our well earned rest and bragging rights. After all, how many people can say they have been to Everest Base Camp! Do join us next year in March!